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Jameela Jamil expertly explains how “tabloid over exposure” is used to demonise women

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Lauren Geall
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Jameela Jamil

I Weigh founder Jameela Jamil took to Instagram over the weekend to call out the “abusive cycle” of “tabloid over exposure” which is used to shape the public perception of women in the spotlight.

If there’s one thing we know about Jameela Jamil, it’s that she isn’t afraid to speak up when she sees misogyny in action.

From calling out those misleading headlines about her so-called ‘friendship’ with Meghan Markle (they’ve met once, by the way) to pointing out why the government’s plans to weigh school pupils were so problematic, Jamil uses her platform to place a spotlight on the issues we need to be talking about. And her latest Instagram post was no different.

After a joke Jamil made on Conan O’Brien’s podcast was described as an “exclusive” and reported on by multiple tabloids, The Good Place star took to Instagram to highlight how “tabloid over exposure” is used to shape public perception of famous women. 

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In the post, which featured screenshots of tweets Jamil had previously posted on Twitter, she explained how this “abusive cycle” of adoration, overexposure and eventual destruction turns the public against famous women and shames them into silence.

“Do you remember how I warned of tabloid over exposure,” the screenshot reads. “This is a deliberate ploy to make it look as though I’m constantly giving press interviews. I RARELY give interviews. They pull my tweets, replies and podcasts to make it look like I’m always selling myself to the papers.

“THIS is to create fatigue and irritation which is part of the set up to make it easier to drag me through the mud. They dehumanise/demonise/hyperbolise as the run-up to the ‘downfall’ that they create to sell papers because our society loves to see a woman disgraced.”

Jamil continued: “This is the pattern for so many women. It’s FASCINATING. Once you see it you can’t unsee it. The system is: build her up, over-congratulate her, over expose her ‘til people are sick of her face, take her out of context, start the rumour mill and destroy… then on to the next.”

Continuing her point in the caption, Jamil added: “Think back to every woman who was darling for a minute and then shamed and disgraced into silence and submission.

“Thankfully I don’t give a flying fuck. So will not be silent and just politely piss off like they want me to. That’s how the abusive cycle continues. Because nobody calls out the pattern.”

Jameela Jamil
Jameela Jamil: “The system is: build her up, over-congratulate her, over expose her ‘til people are sick of her face, take her out of context, start the rumour mill and destroy… then on to the next.”

At a time when we’re on our phones more than ever, being able to recognise these misogynistic practices and reject the messages they’re trying to send us is incredibly important.

The ‘over exposure’ tactic isn’t anything new – countless women including Meghan Markle, Taylor Swift, Anne Hathaway, Chrissy Teigen and Jennifer Lawrence have been subject to it over the years. And it’s about time we put this cycle of misogyny to an end.

So what can we do about it? As Stylist’s Kayleigh Dray previously wrote, perhaps the best thing we can do is follow the advice of Jennifer Aniston and stop buying the tabloid stories. 

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“All of us need to take responsibility for what we ingest into our brains,” Aniston said. “We have to stop listening to them, we have to stop buying them because we have to support each other, especially at this time.”

Although stopping ourselves from buying into the tabloid narratives and unpicking the sexist assumptions we’ve been fed over the years may take a lot of work, it’s a worthwhile endeavour.

Thanks to voices like Jamil’s, we’re more aware than ever of the harmful practices that shape society’s attitudes towards women in the spotlight – and we must do what we can to call out this kind of behaviour whenever we see it.  

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Lauren Geall

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